ENGL 300 - Lecture 17 - The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory

Lecture 17 - The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory


This first lecture on social theories of art and artistic production examines the Frankfurt School. The theoretical writings of Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin are explored in historical and political contexts, including Marxism, socialist realism, and late capitalism. The concept of mechanical reproduction, specifically the relationship between labor and art, is explained at some length. Adorno's opposition to this argument, and his own position, are explained. The lecture concludes with a discussion of Benjamin's perspective on the use of distraction and shock in the process of aesthetic revelation.



Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." In The Critical Tradition, pp. 1233-48

Horkheimer, Max and Theodor Adorno. "The Culture Industry." In The Critical Tradition, pp. 1255-62

Course Media





Low Bandwidth Video

mov [100MB]

High Bandwidth Video

mov [500MB]